A happy family hiking together in the beautiful rock formations of Arches National Park. Walking along a scenic trail with large rock unique formations in the background

Good deals are great, but freebies are even better. There are a lot of free deals out there that can provide hours of fun without emptying your wallet. We’ve compiled a list of freebies for your kids and your whole family — take a peek:

Umatilla County Fair: On Friday and Saturday, Aug. 9-10, kids 10 and under get free admission free to the Umatilla County Fair, thanks to Lamb Weston and an anonymous donor.

Kids Bowl Free: Registered kids can bowl two free games every day throughout the summer; all you pay is shoe rental. Desert Lanes in Hermiston is a participating alley.

Free Summer Movies: Hermiston 8 Cinema is providing free family movies for kids and accompanying adults on Wednesday and Thursday mornings.

Free Day at Heritage Station: In Pendleton, the historical museum offers free admission on the first Saturday of the month.

Free Day at Walla Walla Children’s Museum: On Tuesday, Aug. 21, the Children’s Museum of Walla Walla (77 Wainwright Drive) offers free admission from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Every Kid in a Park: Every U.S. fourth-grader qualifies for a free pass to the National Park System. The pass can be used all year to gain entrance to parks for the child and his family. Registration is required; locally available at the U.S. Forest Service Office.

Redbox Free 1 Night Video Game Rental: Want a free game night? Send a text message to 727272 for a coupon code.

Pizza Hut BOOK It: K through sixth-graders who enroll in the BOOK It program will receive a certificate good for a free one-topping Personal Pan Pizza when they reach their book-reading goal. Visit Pizza Hut for details.

EAA Young Eagles Program: Youth ages 8 through 17 have the amazing opportunity to go flying in a private plane for free, a great way to get your kids interested in aviation. Follow this link to find a pilot near you: www.eaa.org/en/eaa/youth/free-ye-flights/become-a-young-eagle. Richland, College Place, La Grande, and Pendleton are on the list, although Pendleton may currently be dormant.

FEMA Fold-up Firetruck: For youngsters who are into fire engines, you can order a free kids Firetruck Foldup Activity Sheet, which doubles as a home escape map in case of a fire. Shipping is free; just visit apps.usfa.fema.gov/publications/display?id=913.

Send your name to Mars: NASA will etch your name to a microchip and place it aboard the Mars 2020 Rover. To add your name, visit mars.nasa.gov/participate/send-your-name/mars2020/.

And here are a number of winter freebies you might want to squirrel away for later:

Ski Free Idaho: There are 18 ski resorts in Idaho, and every one of them is kid-friendly. After paying an $18 registration fee for a “passport,” fifth- and sixth-graders can ski for free at any one of them. (Some blackout dates apply.)

Anthony Lakes: Fifth- and sixth-graders also ski free at Anthony Lakes on Sundays for a limited time. Accompanying adults can purchase an all-day lift ticket for only $20. Last January, Anthony Lakes also hosted a free Nordic Ski Day (including rentals) and will likely offer the same this year.

Toyota Ski Free Friday: The driver of any Toyota vehicle can get a free lift ticket at participating Washington and Idaho ski resorts on specified Fridays. 2020 dates will be announced later in the year.

There are a lot more online freebies, although most require some sort of registration. I’ve weeded out a few of the better ones here:

Educators can get a free box of pencils, rulers, or erasers, no purchase necessary, at rentacalc.com/free-supplies.html.

Wilbooks.com will send a free, autographed book to your child.

Vonbeau.com, Sample Buddy, and Freaky Freddie’s are three websites that have curated lists of freebies for kids.

My daughter is keeping a running tab of how many days are left in summer. Frankly, it’s annoying, but it gives me some incentive to get out there and make the most of the summer before it’s gone. You do the same.


Suzanne Kennedy is a former middle school teacher who lives in Pendleton with her husband and four children.

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